Al Ahly thrash Kaizer Chiefs to win record tenth African crown
Egyptian heavyweights Al Ahly beat Kaizer Chiefs 3-0 in Morocco on Saturday night to become the first side in history to be crowned African champions ten times.
In-form forward Mohamed Sherif scored one and made as Ahly, following a relatively even opening, took full advantage after Chiefs’ Happy Mashiane was dismissed shortly before the break for a poor challenge.
The Cairo side swiftly profited in the second half, first through Mohamed Sherif with a fine chip, then Mohamed ‘Asfha’ Magdy before Amr El Solia cracked home Sherif’s clever backheel.
Ahly’s tally of ten African crowns is now double that of their nearest challengers, with city rivals Zamalek and DR Congo’s TP Mazembe both tied on five apiece.
Al Ahly coach Pitso Mosimane moves on to an impressive three Champions League titles, with the Egyptians defending the trophy they won last year while his initial, and arguably greatest, triumph came with Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016.
This would have been one of his more unusual successes, coming against the very team he supported as a boy.
Fittingly given his recent fine form, it was Sherif who made the breakthrough in Casablanca’s Stade Mohamed VI to take his tally to nine in his last eight before the forward helped wrap up the win.
The holders came into the game as overwhelming favourites, with their record 14th appearance in the final of African club football’s showpiece event coming against a side making their debut.
Playing with new coach Stuart Baxter taking official charge for the first time, Chiefs were in the tie until Mashiane saw red – so inevitably tipping the final towards the most successful side in African club football.
Prior to the game, Mosimane had hinted that cutting the supply line from the flanks and set-pieces might stymy Chiefs and so it proved as the South Africans failed to find a way past Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.
Chiefs still have just the one African title to their name, the now-defunct African Cup Winners’ Cup in 2001, but after a season in which they finished eighth in the league, some 31 points behind champions Sundowns, reaching the final was a success in itself.
Al Ahly, meanwhile, roll on and will hope to impress at the Club World Cup in a similar fashion to 2020 when they beat Palmeiras of Brazil and took the game to European champions Bayern Munich in an impressive semi-final defeat.